Night at the 1859 Jail Museum
October 11, 2014 -- Independence, Missouri
Spend the Night Where the Ghosts of the Civil War Still Walk!
Night at the 1859 Jail Museum
217 North Main Street - Independence, Missouri
6:00 p.m. to 3:00 a.m.

Join American Hauntings for a night that you won't soon forget -- a search for the ghosts of the old 1859 Jail and Marshal's Home in Independence, Missouri, made famous during the bloody days of the Civil War in Missouri, when the jail held women and children who were unjustly locked up, guerilla leader William Quantrill and outlaw Frank James! Spend the night looking for the ghosts of this historic -- and very haunted -- old jail with a limited number of ghost hunters during a private ghost hunt. Find out if the place is really as haunted as so many people claim and perhaps come face to face with one of the former occupants of the place!

The evening will include a historic tour of the jail followed by a ghost hunt at a place that has been called one of the most haunted places in Missouri. The night begins at 6:00 p.m. and continues until 3:00 a.m. -- unless you get too scared to continue! Don't miss out on this chilling night at a place where Missouri's Civil War history lives on!
Make Reservations Now for a Limited Number of Spots!
$60 Per Person
Click Here for Reservations for this Eerie Event!
The Jackson County Jail and Marshal's house was built in Independence, Missouri in 1859. The jail was constructed by A.B. Cross, a noted architect from Kansas City, and it was used until 1933, when it was closed down. Before that time, however, it saw more than its share of history. When built, the structure consisted of a home for the city marshal and his family and twelve limestone cells that were located at the rear of the residence. The only major change to the structure was in 1907, when a brick building was added on to house chain gangs who worked on roads, sewers and other public projects.

The marshal lived with his family in the residence, which was the front half of the structure. The marshal's wife often cooked meals for the prisoners, as well as her own family, in a small kitchen at the back of the house. The Marshal was paid about $50 per month, plus the use of the house, for his services. The jail consisted of six upstairs and six downstairs cells, with two-foot thick walls of limestone blocks. A single kerosene lamp in the hallway provided the only light at night. Two doors, one of grated iron and one of solid iron, were provided for each cell, as was a window covered with grated iron that permitted wind from the outside to enter. The cells were not heated, and some prisoners incarcerated inside died of exposure during the jail's history. Each cell was six by nine feet and designed to hold three prisoners, though during the Civil War, as many as twenty prisoners were confined in each one.

Some of the crimes for which a person could be imprisoned in the jail prior to the Civil War included: horse racing on public streets, firing guns in town, operating a gaming house, assault and battery, disturbing the peace, disturbing a religious meeting, or building a privy "not over a pit." But it was during the war that the jail gained its greatest infamy...

William Quantrill
During the war, the jail held both military and civilian prisoners and served as the office for the U.S. Provost Marshal. One of the most famous inmates of the jail -- for a brief time -- was Pro-Confederate guerilla leader William Clark Quantrill. He gained his real infamy in August 1863 after Union officials in Lawrence, Kansas ordered the detention of any civilians giving aid to Quantrill's men, who included "Bloody Bill" Anderson, the Younger Brothers and Frank and Jesse James. Several female relatives of the guerillas were imprisoned in a makeshift jail in Kansas City and on August 14, the building collapsed, killing one of Bill Anderson's sisters and crippling another. Quantrill's men believed the collapse was deliberate and raided Lawrence, Kansas, killing 183 men and boys and burning most of the city. The town was also looted and the bank was robbed.

On August 25, in retaliation for the raid, Union officials authorized General Order No. 11, which ordered the depopulation of three-and-a-half Missouri counties along the Kansas border (with the exception of a few designated towns), forcing tens of thousands of civilians to abandon their homes. Union troops marched through behind them, burning buildings, torching planted fields and shooting down livestock to deprive the guerrillas of food and support.

Frank James
The area was so thoroughly devastated that it became known thereafter as the "Burnt District." Jackson County was one of those affected by the order and scores of women and children were actually detained within the walls of the jail.

After the war, the jail's most famous inmate was Frank James, older brother to outlaw Jesse James, who spent almost six months behind bars in the 1880s. During his time at the jail, James' cell was furnished with a Brussels carpet, fine furniture and paintings, and he was permitted free run of the jail and hosted card games in his cell at night. Frank James' cell is preserved as it was when he occupied it and can still be seen today.

In the 1900s, the jail was used to house the prison chain gangs that were used to improve the local roads, a brutal, hot and exhausting punishment that broke the men's minds and bodies. In 1933, the last jail hung up his keys and the county found a use for the jail and home when it housed several offices, work training programs and government bureaus during the Great Depression.

Join us now as we unlock the history and search for the lingering spirits of those who were jailed and died here over the years. Discover the criminals and ordinary people who were incarcerated behind these walls perhaps come face to face with a presence of yesterday with American Hauntings!